Skip to main content

Communication: Scholarly v Non-Scholarly Periodicals

Introduction to Scholarly v Non-Scholarly

Proper identification of scholarly and non-scholarly resources is a critical skill needed by academic researchers and writers. Generally, the main requirement indicating a publication or scholarly or non-scholarly is whether or not the articles within the publication have been peer-reviewed.

Scholarly v Non-Scholarly Publications

Scholarly Articles...

  • ...are written by a scholar in a specific field of study.

  • ...ALWAYS cite their sources in either footnotes, bibliographies, or works cited.

  • ...go through a peer-reviewed/refereed process.

  • ...are generally published by associations and universities.

  • ...are void of flashy advertisements and glossy photographs.

  • ...generally assume some knowledge of the field they are in.

Non-Scholarly Articles

Non-Scholarly Articles...

  • ...often contain advertising and are more visually entertaining.

  • ...are NOT peer-reviewed.

  • ...are NOT written by scholars in that field of study.

  • ...primarily provide information to a broad audience.

  • ...are generally produced by commercial publishers.

  • ...do not provide references in footnotes and/or a bibliography or works cited.

Peer-Reviewed / Not Peer-Reviewed Questions

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

A "peer-reviewed" (also known as a "scholarly" or "refereed") journal is one whose articles must pass a rigorous acceptance process through which a team of impartial experts or scholars in a field have carefully evaluated and vetted each article to ensure it exemplifies the best research practices of the field it is in.

How can I determine if an article is peer-reviewed?

Most library databases have a search option that allows you to indicate you only wish to view peer-reviewed journals or articles.

Another option is to locate the publication the article is published in and read the "about us" and/or "submissions" sections. These may indicate whether or not submissions go through a peer-review process.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (see below) is a listing of most of the periodicals (magazines, newspapers, newsletters, journals, etc.) that are available. It is very useful for determining if a publication is peer-reviewed (Ulrich's indicates these as "Refereed" publications) or finding the publication's website and other information so you can check for yourself.

If you need help verifying whether or not a publication is peer-reviewed, you can always contact your friendly librarians at Bailey Library.